Strategic Education (STRA) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Strategic Education (NASDAQ:STRA) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Saturday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Strategic Education have broadly outperformed its industry in a year's time. Its earnings estimates for 2018 and 2019 have remained stable over the past 60 days. Strong new student enrollment at Strayer University owing to its continuous focus on undergraduate programs will drive growth. Both the universities’ convenient, accessible and flexible educational programs, designed specifically to meet the educational needs of working adult, is encouraging. Also, its focus on competency-based and non-degree programs bode well. However, continuous decline in revenue per student due to tuition cuts and an unfavorable mix of students toward lower undergraduate tuition are causes of concern. In addition, the company is exposed to seasonal fluctuations and rising government interference, which is likely to hamper its performance in the near term.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Strategic Education from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, November 17th. Barrington Research lifted their price objective on shares of Strategic Education to $175.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, November 8th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Strategic Education from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, January 7th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets lifted their price objective on shares of Strategic Education to $158.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Monday, November 12th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. Strategic Education currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $149.00.

Shares of Strategic Education stock opened at $114.50 on Friday. Strategic Education has a 52-week low of $80.75 and a 52-week high of $154.89. The company has a market capitalization of $2.38 billion, a PE ratio of 36.82, a PEG ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 1.12.

Strategic Education (NASDAQ:STRA) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 8th. The health services provider reported $0.92 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.68 by $0.24. Strategic Education had a negative net margin of 8.74% and a positive return on equity of 10.30%. The firm had revenue of $160.90 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $185.48 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.34 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 48.3% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, research analysts forecast that Strategic Education will post 4.57 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, Director Todd A. Milano bought 280 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 12th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $122.53 per share, for a total transaction of $34,308.40. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 23,093 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,829,585.29. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Robert R. Grusky sold 507 shares of Strategic Education stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $144.05, for a total transaction of $73,033.35. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 12,567 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,810,276.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 18,850 shares of company stock valued at $2,560,295 over the last quarter. 3.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Victory Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Strategic Education in the 4th quarter worth approximately $38,027,000. Tygh Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in Strategic Education by 7.0% during the 4th quarter. Tygh Capital Management Inc. now owns 131,398 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $14,903,000 after acquiring an additional 8,605 shares during the period. LS Investment Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Strategic Education by 63.3% during the 4th quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 1,055 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $120,000 after acquiring an additional 409 shares during the period. Sawgrass Asset Management LLC lifted its stake in Strategic Education by 201.8% during the 4th quarter. Sawgrass Asset Management LLC now owns 11,105 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $1,260,000 after acquiring an additional 7,425 shares during the period. Finally, Chartwell Investment Partners LLC lifted its stake in Strategic Education by 99.0% during the 4th quarter. Chartwell Investment Partners LLC now owns 61,597 shares of the health services provider’s stock valued at $6,986,000 after acquiring an additional 30,638 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 91.97% of the company’s stock.

About Strategic Education

Strategic Education, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of post-secondary education and other academic programs in the United States. The company operates Strayer University and Capella University that provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education, health services administration, nursing, public administration, and criminal justice to working adult students through its 74 physical campuses primarily located in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions, as well as through online.

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